If you thought the self-canonized and brand-leading “Holy Yoga” wasn’t enough in the megachurches, we now have a new yoga brand extension called “Atoning Yoga.” It is “atonement,” “at-one-ment,“and “a-toning-up” yoga combined. You get a triple benefit as you deal with your past sins, become one with “the divine,” and tone up those flabby quads all at the same time. As the typical venues for yoga: the YMCA, community colleges, and fitness centers become saturated with yoga; those pesky proselytizing yoga teachers must move further into faith-based venues (see “An Open Letter to Evangelicals“). Getting to “Moksha,” whoops, I mean grabbing a “mocha,” is the order of the day at your church’s barista bar at the end of yoga class.
Seriously now, are pastors clueless as to what pantheism looks like? Yoga is the perfect embodiment of pantheism, and monism and is extreme self-worship. Our Western material culture, and the fact that most seminaries do not require a single course in world religions and alternative spiritualties, has most pastors unable to easily distinguish the Christian faith from many others. Bhakti yoga and many strains of Buddhist meditation have led the mainstreamers away from the faith to the point of renouncing it altogether. Now we have the self-incarnating missional emergents following the Episcopalian retreads of the 1970’s embracing almost any experiential form of faith expression as long as they can put a Christian wrapper on it. Some reality and historical freebasing are in order, but never mind as there are too many videos to be sold, classes to be taught, seminars to be given, and retreats to be led. Cah-Ching! Cah-Ching! (Modern translation: the sound of your credit card being swiped through an iPhone “square”)
I say this all as a believer who came to faith in a highly-reformed Calvinist church but have spent most of my Christian life in the Episcopal Church with diversions into the big box evangelical faith.